Resources on Gays and the Church

LGBT Fact Sheets One of the most divisive issues among believers today is the very important, but emotional, debate on whether gays should be rejected in the church or accepted as equals. Condemnation of gays causes tremendous pain to people both inside and outside the church. The Bible does not speak against gay relationships, but some believers point to unrelated passages they claim to do so.

Following Jesus without Baggage

Books and Film

  • Justin Lee, Torn (click to see the book on Amazon)

Justin Lee was a normal Southern Baptist boy who was very dedicated to Jesus and the church. When his friends began to notice girls, Justin began to notice guys. He had heard there was sometimes a period of sexual confusion during puberty, so he waited for his attraction to guys to pass.

To his alarm, the feelings did not go away even though he dated girls and had a steady girlfriend. (Click here to read the rest of my review).

If you don’t trust ‘progressive Christians’ or ‘liberals’ with the Bible, then let me tell you something about Matthew Vines. He isn’t even close! He makes it clear from the outset that he has a ‘High View’ of scripture, and he demonstrates that throughout his book.

If you are a conservative evangelical or a fundamentalist with a high view of the Bible, and you want to understand better what the Bible says about same-sex attraction, then this is the book for you! (Click here to read the rest of my review).

A True Story.

Mary Griffith, a very religious, ‘Bible-believing’ mother (played by Sigourney Weaver) discovers that her 16-year-old son, Bobby, thinks he might be gay. Immediately, she begins to do everything she can to change him back to his former purity.

Finally, she rejects him and he leaves; and before long he commits suicide. This becomes a turning point for his mother who re-evaluates her understanding of what the Bible says about gays, and she becomes an advocate for gay and lesbian youth. (Click here to read the rest of my review).

Websites

Videos

Through My Eyes From Gay Christian Network (48 minutes). Very Good and well organized. Gay Christian Youth talk about their struggles, attempts to change, suicidal impulses, rejection by family and church, and alienation between gays and the church.

Why I Changed My Mind On Homosexuality by Danny Cortez (61 minutes). A Southern Baptist Pastor humbly shares his changing views on homosexuality with his congregation knowing that he might be fired. [Update: the church did not fire him, but the Southern Baptist Convention ejected the church from the Association.]

The NALT (Not All Like That) Christian Project. Short individual videos from quite a number of Christians demonstrating that they are not like that–not condemning of LGBTs.

Traditional Christian Parents Reveal Changed Views on LGBT (4 minutes)

Articles

From Jesus without Baggage

From Kimberly Knight

From Susan Cottrell

From Other Writers

Other Lists of Resources:

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104 Responses to Resources on Gays and the Church

  1. Pingback: 4 Huge Ways Believing the Bible Inerrant is Tremendously Harmful | Jesus Without Baggage

  2. IntellectualWithHeart says:

    Another resource you may be interested in is a Lifetime movie called “Prayers for Bobby.” I mean it is Lifetime, so make the assumptions as you will, but the movie really changed my view on Christianity and homosexuality and I think you may enjoy it as well.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks, I will look into it.

      Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hello Heart,

      I looked into the movie and it looks very good, so I ordered it today. After I watch it, if it is good as it looks, I will definitely add it to the list. Thanks!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Announcing Jesus Without Baggage Resource Pages | Jesus Without Baggage

  4. mike says:

    YOU LET A LIFETIME MOVIE CHANGE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY. AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT GETS THE CHILLS HEARING THIS?!…..I have always struggled with the “strong delusion” but now I understand. You can give a number of excuses and “reasons” but the bible is all we have to go on. If you cannot trust the bible you are just another speck on earth with an opinion….very scary….please read His word

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mike, you say the Bible is all we have to go on. I think the Bible is very important too, but if we actually understand what it says we discover that the case for it being anti-gay is extremely weak. In the Jesus without Baggage links above, I address every one of the clobber passages people use against gays–and they are misapplied.

      Take a look if you wish.

      Like

      • rosie says:

        I wouldn’t say this is extremely weak, i would say the bible is extremely strong stating that homosexuality is a sin.”You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: How I Changed from Disapproving LGBTs to Being Totally Affirming | Jesus Without Baggage

  6. stasisonline says:

    Tim, have you not noticed that the first page of the first link from Susan Cottrell, contains a thoroughly unbiblical statement? IE the line –

    “To stand at the church door and block anyone from entering, for any reason, is absolutely indefensible.”

    That totally contradicts 1 Corinthians 5. And shockingly it’s followed by the statement –

    “Too much ‘Christian’ teaching has really gone off-track”

    Youre Jesus without Baggage, seems to equate to Jesus without Jesus. Your sources dont seem to know what Christianity is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, in many of today’s churches people are quick to dismiss and abandon people for a number of bad reasons. I think Susan is responding to this. There might be an occasion to work with people who finally need to be removed from leadership, but I agree with Susan that the church should welcome pretty much anyone to the church.

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  7. stasisonline says:

    Tim the second post you city from the Freed Hearts blog, advises the mum to avoid theological debate, and to instead stand on her own experience. This is rather contradictory to Scripture. Im thinking particularly of Proverbs 3:5-6.

    Like

  8. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Stasis, I think perhaps we understand Proverbs 3:5-6 differently. Some people use this passage to warn people to not question or doubt what they have been taught by their leaders. But ‘do not question’ is equal to ‘do not think’. I have written about this misuse of the passage here:

    https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/lean-not-on-your-own-understanding-the-fear-of-thinking-in-fundamentalism/

    Like

    • stasisonline says:

      A notion of “do not think”, and advice to not follow your human leaders, is not what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, and it’s not what my response is about. The verse is about trusting in what God has said. Freed Hears is contradicting that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Stasis, I agree with you: “A notion of “do not think”…is not what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about”. However, it IS how many believers use this passage to discourage each other from thinking instead of just accepting what they have been taught.

        We do need to trust what God has said, but we must also determine what God has said and not just trust someone else’s opinion on it.

        Like

        • stasisonline says:

          Ok. So are you disagreeing with the Freed Hearts perspective?

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I do not disagree with her perspective. I think what she is saying is that it is useless to engage with believers who continue to insist that the Bible condemns being gay. This is not a fruitful debate because it has been done to exhaustion; the arguments based on appealing to the ‘clobber passage’ are always essentially the same. So we know what these objectors are going to say.

            The problem is that these ‘debaters’ are using a misguided view of inerrancy in their understanding of these passages. I would say that the only passage that might be open to reasonable debate is Romans 1.

            So I agree with Susan: “Don’t be drawn in to a theological debate with someone who believes there is no possible way they could be wrong.” It is not that she is disregarding the value of debate; I am quite sure she has been through it many times before, and she does not have to respond to every challenger. Sharing experience, however, often produces new insights to anti-gay challengers.

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          • stasisonline says:

            Tim youre veering off from what Susan wrote, again. She didnt say that the debate has been done to exhaustion, and that she knows what the objectors are going to say. More so the reverse.She’s referring to someone who has very little experience debating the topic, and probably doesnt know what the objectors are going to say.

            What Im saying is that Scripture says to trust in God with all of your heart, and dont lean on your own understanding. She though, seems to be recommending ignoring what God says and to instead trust in your own understanding.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, first of all I select articles based on their overall usefulness; I do not agree with the authors in every detail.

            Secondly, you state: “What Im saying is that Scripture says to trust in God with all of your heart, and dont lean on your own understanding. She though, seems to be recommending ignoring what God says and to instead trust in your own understanding.”

            The ‘Scripture’ doesn’t say anything; the author of each book or passage is who said it. And I think what you mean by ‘ignoring what God says’ really means ignoring what you think the author of a particular passage, or passages, says. There is a huge difference.

            I think gay Christians trust God more than the typical believer.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Granted you wont agree with every detail in someone else’s article that you share. I acknowledge that. But it seems to me that in this article, her recommendation to trust self rather than God, isnt a detail, but rather a key theme, if not the central theme.

            You suggest that my reference to Proverbs 3:5-6 is my interpretation of the passage rather than being about what God says. If you are suggesting that God any myself understand it differently, what would God’s interpretation be?

            Im curious about you claim that gay Christians trust God more than the typical believer. How so?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, you ask: “You suggest that my reference to Proverbs 3:5-6 is my interpretation of the passage rather than being about what God says. If you are suggesting that God an[d] myself understand it differently, what would God’s interpretation be?”

            I don’t know that God has any opinion on this. God did not produce this parable; it was written by a man to his son about following wisdom in his youth.

            However, the way it is used by many believers today is more like: ‘Lean not to your own understanding; lean to our understanding instead as we have taught you and as we have been taught by others. Just believe what you have been taught and don’t question or doubt.’ This interpretation is not present in the parable but is read INTO it.

            You also ask: “Im curious about you claim that gay Christians trust God more than the typical believer. How so?” Well this is how. All believers should trust God, but gay believers must trust God for all the reasons other believers do PLUS, IN ADDITION TO THAT, they must depend on God for all the attacks, condemnation, and rejection they receive from hostile anti-gay people–especially other believers.

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          • stasisonline says:

            Thanks Tim. But on some level, all of Scripture may be said to be written by people. You though seem to be saying that the book of Proverbs is not divinely inspired. That’s not how Wesley viewed the book (https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=wes&b=20&c=1). Some see Jesus as drawing from the book of Proverbs (https://heraldmagazine.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/jesus-and-the-book-of-proverbs/). Others point out that the New Testament references the Book of Proverbs more than half a dozen times (http://www.knowableword.com/2013/03/20/top-10-ot-books-quoted-in-nt/).

            However your replies continue to be clouded by what I see as irrelevant references to how people misapply Proverbs 3:5-6. It seems to me that you are unwilling to consider that Susan is contravening the passage, because all you can think about is people misapplying the passage.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, just because Jesus or other NT writers reference OT passages does not imply that those passages are inspired by God. They are using their common literature to make their points.

            I think it is apparent that the two of us see the Bible through different glasses. Why don’t we agree to disagree?

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Well I note that the quotes of Proverbs in the NT, are stated in such a way that implies it’s truth. But I suppose I can be open to the possibility that Proverbs was not inspired by God.

            Ill be sad if you dont want to continue this discussion, Tim. It feels like you just want to escape from conceding that Susan contravened Scripture.

            Like

  9. stasisonline says:

    Tim, in the 3rd post from Susan Cottrell, it states “Jesus never shamed anyone”. It’s a mystery to me how she could claim this, if she’s read the Gospels. Matthew chapter 23 states for example; “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: … “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

    I get the impression that she either has never read the Bible thoroughly, or it’s been many decades since she’s looked at a Bible or attended church, and she only has a vague recollection of what Jesus stands for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, Jesus did frequently call out certain privileged Pharisees for the way they treated the common people. I don’t think this is the same as shaming gays or other people.

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Ahhh so youre saying that by definition, it’s not possible to shame someone who is in a position of privilege? I hadnt considered that. But now that I think about it, I dont think privilege makes a person impervious to being shamed. And actually, Jesus was revered in some circumstances (Luke 5:26, Luke 7:16, Matthew 7:28-29) so in relation to Jesus, Im not sure they were in a position of privilege?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. stasisonline says:

    Tim, the 4th post from Susan Cottrell, is about the sad story of Ryan Robertson. It’s hard to know what is conjecture and what isnt with this story. Would Ryan have done hard core drugs if his parents supported homosexuality? It’s hard to know. Statistics show that GLBT people do more drugs than most people (https://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2012/03/14/roughly-25-lgbt-population-abuses-substances) so maybe he would have anyway. The story of Danny Pintauro, suggests that even gay men who are successful, are known to abuse drugs (http://people.com/tv/oprah-winfrey-talks-to-danny-pintauro-about-crystal-meth-problem/). And Ryan was far from unusual in turning his back on God at that age. Many teens of college age, do.

    One element of the story that did catch my attention, was that his death came at a point after his parents had said that homosexual relationships were okay for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, young gays also have very high rates of suicide. Why is this? The high rates of suicide and drugs are from having their sexuality rejected and condemned by their families.

      You state: “Ryan was far from unusual in turning his back on God at that age. Many teens of college age, do.” But Ryan, like many young gays, wanted to be at peace with God; but his parents gave him an ultimatum: “And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option. Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality.”

      By the time his mother assured him they accepted his sexuality it was too late; the damage was already done.

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Well youre largely repeating the angel his mother takes, which I suggest involves conjecture. Im asking whether her angle is actually valid. IE she feels to blame for his sinking into trouble, but are she and her husband really to blame?

        You suggest that the high rates of suicide by young gay people are due to them having their sexuality rejected by their families. I acknowledge that this may be a factor. But I also wonder whether it’s an overly simplistic explanation. We know that other people also face high levels of discrimination, eg enslaved people of decades and centuries ago, but they didnt all suicide or turn to hard drugs. And we know that their are gay people who are embraced, and others who come from positions of privilege, such as Danny Pintauro, above, who still sink into hard drugs. Homosexuality is often tied to a “party lifestyle”, which often includes drugs. Not all gay suffering is a result of discrimination.

        If Ryan Robertson’s parents were impossible, he could have walked away from them, as some children do, and go on to live a healthy life. I think he shares responsibility for the path he took.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. stasisonline says:

    Tim, the 5th post from Susan Cottrell seems to have some fundamental flaws in it, in regards to understanding what Jesus is all about.

    She writes that you are as God made you. And she seems to say that God is only angry or disappointed with oppressive leaders. This implies that unless you are an oppressive leader, God is indifferent, or not in any way, non-approving of you, irrespective of what you do.

    This is totally contradictory to my understanding of the New Testament message. First we had John the Baptist crying “repent, repent”. Susan though, seems to say that’s not necessary. Jesus then came, and said “leave behind your sin and follow me”. But again, Susan seems to imply that’s not necessary. She seems to say you can just be yourself, and follow yourself. She just seems to have so little grasp of Scripture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, you said: “First we had John the Baptist crying “repent, repent”. Susan though, seems to say that’s not necessary. Jesus then came, and said “leave behind your sin and follow me”. But again, Susan seems to imply that’s not necessary.”

      So, Stasis, what does it mean to repent? It means to change your mind and go another direction. Repentance is NOT saying some ‘sinner’s prayer’ but changing our mind, choosing the kingdom of God, and following Jesus.

      In Luke 3, when John the Baptist called on people to repent (change their minds and direction) John’s answers to the crowd are interesting: “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.”

      “John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

      It appears that those wishing to enter the kingdom of God were to treat other people right. And this is what ‘sin’ is, not disregarding legalistic rules but harming and hurting other people. This is consistent with Jesus’ observation about the Law–that the essence of the Law is to love God and to love all others as one’s self.

      In my opinion, being gay and following one’s sexual orientation is not sin. ‘Sin’ is more like rejecting and condemning gays. Now that hurts!

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Yes I see some truth what you note about John the Baptist’s message. So do you agree that Susan seems to neglect the importance of the need for Christians to repent?

        Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Stasis, what do you understand ‘repent’ to mean?

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          • stasisonline says:

            To turn from sin. To make a sincere decision to avoid sinning, and to instead follow Jesus’ ways. Do we agree about that?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, it depends. What do you think sin is?

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            I understand sin to be something that God tells us not to do. Examples include stealing, drunkenness, murdering, laziness, telling lies, worshiping other gods. Do we agree on that?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, thanks for clarifying your understanding of sin. My answer is that I DO NOT agree with that. What you describe is legalism–following a list of rules. Jesus did not promote legalism but a proper understanding and use of love.

            I would say that ‘sin’ is more about principles than rules; it is about treating people with empathy, compassion, and reconciliation in the light of God’s great love rather than inflicting pain, condemnation, and alienation.

            This is a significant point of disagreement between us.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Tim I appreciate your view of principles rather than rules. I see this in Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath in Mark 2:27. I think Jesus would agree with you on that point.

            Beyond that though, Im not sure I follow what youre saying about sin. Certainly Id say that following Jesus includes treating people with empathy, compassion, and reconciliation, and avoiding inflicting pain, condemnation, and alienation. But Jesus gave his followers principles that covered far more ground than those few. Are you saying that stealing, drunkenness, murdering, laziness, telling lies, worshiping other gods are not sins, even as principles?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, you ask a good question: “Are you saying that stealing, drunkenness, murdering, laziness, telling lies, worshiping other gods are not sins, even as principles?” I think it helps lead to the distinction between legalism and principle. And the distinction is WHY we don’t want to do these thing.

            Each of the things you mention, except possibly worshipping other Gods, either harms our self or others. In light of Jesus’ teaching and example I avoid those things, but not because God ‘said’ to avoid them (which is legalism) but because they are all harmful to myself or others–principles taught by Jesus.

            I think another aspect is that those who are driven by legalism also generally believe that if we do violate God’s ‘rules’ we will be punished for it (like in eternal hell). In the principled understanding, doing those things do not bring punishment from God but harm that is a natural result of the harmful thing we do. Do you see the difference?

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          • stasisonline says:

            Thanks for this explanation Tim. This angle of avoiding legalism is a foreign concept to me though , so Im sorry If Im slow to grasp it. I feel like Im starting to grasp it, but Im not there yet. As I wrote above, I think I see your point, when I consider what Jesus said about the Sabbath in Mark 2:27. IE that Jesus promoted principles rather than fully inflexible rules. And I think you have a good point when you focus on the ‘why’ of Jesus’ principles. I think one of the reasons he was unhappy with the Pharisees was because they focused on the letter of religious law, rather than the spirit of the law.

            However, I feel confused about your sentence where you explain why you avoid many of the actions in my list. Are you saying you avoid those actions, simply because they are harmful to people? If you are, then does that mean you dont regard the worshipping of other gods to be sinful? And what does that imply about things that are harmful, but are not listed in Scripture as being harmful, eg drag racing or smoking. Do you regard those as sinful?

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Tom says:

    It is not a question of affirming or rejecting homosexuals, but rather a question of love. I would submit it is entirely unloving to affirm a persons sin, encourage them in it, and thus take them further from the Lord and help condemn them to eternal Hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tom, I don’t think God will condemn anyone to punishment in eternal hell. But you say it is unloving to affirm a person’s sin or encourage them in it. It seems that you are implying that being gay is sin. Do I understand correctly?

      Like

      • Tom says:

        Yes, you are. It is a perversion of God’s intended purpose for sex and relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Tom, thanks for the clarification.

          Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Personally, I vary slightly with Tom on this. Although that might just come down to definition of words and understanding of sexuality. In contemporary English, to “be gay” tends to mean to experience same-sex attraction. But some older people understand the term a little differently, as meaning to engage in homosexual activity. But under the contemporary definition, I dont think it’s a sin. We all experience temptation. I think it’s wrong to refer to temptation as sin. I think sin is a willful act. So engaging in sexual activity can be a sin, but I dont think experiencing temptation for sexual activity, is a sin.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, you have a good point between temptation and engagement. But let me clarify that I do not think embracing and engaging in one’s gayness is a sin.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Tim, are you not willing to believe what Scripture says on the matter?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, again I would say that the ‘scriptures’ don’t say anything; it is the various authors who wrote what they wrote. But I have looked at every ‘clobber’ passage used by anti-gay Christians, and I don’t think any of them condemn gay relationships.

            What is your one best ‘scriptural’ proof, and we can discuss it.

            Like

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks for offering, Tim. Are you only wanting to discuss one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        We can discuss as many as you wish, Stasis. But can we start with the one you think most persuasive?

        Like

        • stasisonline says:

          Okay, well there are pros and cons with discussing one by one. Ultimately I agree that it’s best to go one at a time, rather than covering everything at once, since it can be overwhelming. But I note that when discussing the relevant scriptures one by one, some people have one excuse for one scripture and another excuse for another scripture, and it’s less apparent how they are full of excuses. Whereas if all relevant scriptures are discussed at once, the serial excuses are more apparent.

          Okay lets start with Ephesians 5. Not because I think it’s most persuasive, but because I find it one of the most compelling. It’s written on the basis that Christian marriages are comprised in a manner where all husbands have wives, and all wives have husbands. If Jesus had been okay with gay relationships, surely there would have been husbands with husbands and wives with wives. We know from elsewhere in the Bible that there were same-sex attracted people around at the time, along with “born eunuchs” and eunuchs as part of the Christian community, so why were their not gay marriages in the church at that time?

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, why don’t we simply agree that we disagree on these issues.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Well I agree that we disagree. But Im still interested to know why you believe what you do. EG why you think there were no gay marriages amongst the Christians that Paul wrote to, despite there being gay people around.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            I doubt that there were any gay marriages in Paul’s day, though there were likely gay relationships. But we have no idea, one way or the other, whether there were gay relationships in Paul’s churches.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Lets consider Ephesians 5:26, which begins “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church …” This seems to me to say that if you are a husband, then you will have a wife. Do you not agree?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I think this passage addresses a particular, and common, situation in the churches; but we can not infer something that it does not address. It does NOT address same-gender relationships, nor single people, nor widows or widowers, nor plural marriages. I think it does reflect the culture of the time but is not a prescription or standard for marriages of all times and places.

            In my opinion, it is irrelevant to the question of same-sex relationships.

            In your previous comment on Ephesians 5, you stated: “If Jesus had been okay with gay relationships, surely there would have been husbands with husbands and wives with wives…so why were their not gay marriages in the church at that time?”

            This argument is the argument from silence–one of the weakest arguments of all. We cannot prove a point because of the absence of a counterpoint. I don’t think we have ANY information on whether their were church-recognized same-sex relationships in the early churches. We have only culture–and silence.

            I don’t want to make assumptions so, as we continue this thread, can you clarify your opinions about same-sex relationships?

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Certainly the passage does not address widows, widowers or single people. None of those are husbands or wives. I’m not certain that it doesn’t refer to plural marriages, though I suspect you’re right about that. I wouldn’t say it’s silent on same sex marriages though. It addresses husbands. Gay male marriages include husbands. But it presents husbands as having wives. IE it seems to imply that in that context, a husband is only a husband if he has a wife.

            This is partly why I’m of the opinion that Scripture teaches that Christian marriage is inherently heterosexual and that homosexual sex is sinful.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I think that is a really big stretch. It is fine with me if you believe that, but I don’t find it at all convincing. In fact, I don’t find any biblical passages used to condemn gay relationships convincing. The only one that even comes close is Romans 1, and I don’t find it convincing either.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            I see. Do you not find it odd that when he refers to husbands, he implies that they all have wives?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I do not find it odd. In that context all husbands likely did have wives. What I do not infer is that this is prescriptive for all relationships. I don’t think this tangential comment, written by a first century man, speaks somehow to God’s condemnation of same-sex relationships.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            But then dont you think it’s odd that in that context, that all husbands had wives?

            We know that St Paul was very much aware of men who were sexually attracted to, and sexually active with other men. And we know that Jesus as a revolutionary, who even turned marital relationships upside down by what he announced about divorce. If Jesus would have been okay with homosexual relationships, do you not think he would have made that clear? And if he had made that clear, do you not think that gay people, who were so under-privileged under Jewish law, would have embraced Christianity with a passion? And wouldnt this have meant that when St Paul mentioned marriage, he couldnt help but include reference to gay marriages?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, there are many things I wish Jesus had addressed and clarified. But his focus was on a few major issues; it was not to leave behind answers to all our questions.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            ok, but I dont feel like you are really engaging with my question. Sure, scripture only reveals a little about Jesus. But my question wasnt just about Jesus.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I don’t know what kind of engagement you want. You asked: “But then dont you think it’s odd that in that context, that all husbands had wives?…And wouldnt this have meant that when St Paul mentioned marriage, he couldnt help but include reference to gay marriages?”

            In answer: No. I do not think this odd, and I said so earlier in the very comment you just commented on: “I do not find it odd. In that context all husbands likely did have wives. What I do not infer is that this is prescriptive for all relationships. I don’t think this tangential comment, written by a first century man, speaks somehow to God’s condemnation of same-sex relationships.”

            It seems that, in a several of these threads, you keep asking the same question over and over after they have already been addressed.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Ok, for clarity Ill be more brief and specific. Why do you think that in the early church, all husbands likely did have wives?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Because it was the custom of the time.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            It seems to me that youre ignoring what I wrote earlier. Yes it was the custom before Jesus. But Jesus revolutionized Jewish customs and sought to do the same to gentile customs. If Jesus would have supported gay marriage, why do you think the early church didnt embrace that?

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I think I have responded sufficiently to your questions on this issue.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Tim, needless to say, the cynic in me wonders whether you are now dodging questions you cant answer. But I should not be cynical. However the next time someone someone announces that “we need to start s conversation about the need to embrace gay marriage in the church”, my mind will likely reflect back on occasions like this when people are unwilling to endure the conversation.

            May God guide and bless you Tim.

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Tom says:

    You’re welcome. I will say, this seems to be the spirit of the age, rather than from God.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Stasis, I am starting a new thread to the left because our discussion was getting long and skinny.

    I really like you comment about Jesus: “I think one of the reasons he was unhappy with the Pharisees was because they focused on the letter of religious law, rather than the spirit of the law.” And I think the same thing applies today for many people; as legalists they are so involved in the letter of the law that they often miss the spirit of it. They can technically keep a ‘commandment’ as it is written while at the same time losing sight of what it means.

    You ask a good question: “Are you saying you avoid those actions, simply because they are harmful to people”? Yes, that is essentially what I am saying; I don’t do those things because they are harmful, even though they might only be harmful to me, without affecting other people.

    “And what does that imply about things that are harmful, but are not listed in Scripture as being harmful, eg drag racing or smoking. Do you regard those as sinful?” I think the same thing applies, but I am still not comfortable with your use of the word ‘sinful’. It seems to imply that there is a specific category of things that are ‘sinful’ in the eyes of God and will bring God’s disfavor on us.

    Even being insensitive in reacting to other people can be harmful; so can spending too much time watching TV. I think each person should determine for themselves what is harmful to themselves (and others) and begin to change and improve out of motivation to help others (and themselves). The details will vary from person to person because we are talking about principles–not rules.

    “If you are, then does that mean you dont regard the worshipping of other gods to be sinful?” I think, perhaps, that this is a different category. I am not going to worship other Gods, but if a person thinks their god is the one to worship, I don’t think our God is going to hold it against them or punish them in any way. Of course, I think it much better that they discover Jesus and his teaching about God; but, if they don’t, what would it mean to say that it is a ‘sin’? A sin against what?

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    • stasisonline says:

      A sin against our God.

      You wrote “… but I am still not comfortable with your use of the word ‘sinful’. It seems to imply that there is a specific category of things that are ‘sinful’ in the eyes of God and will bring God’s disfavor on us.” So are you saying that our actions do not and cannot being God’s disfavor on us? Scripture seems to say that they can. So do you and I simply interpret Scripture differently, or would you say that some of the New Testament just doesnt apply to us?

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Stasis, I don’t think you and I are going to come to a common understanding of what sin is.

        Like

        • stasisonline says:

          Ok. Are you ending this thread of conversation? Im still interested in your answers to my earlier questions.

          Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, why are you interested in my answers? I am very happy to answer questions, but I don’t see this discussion going anywhere. I am not gaining any insight from your contribution and I doubt mine has made any difference to you. I am not interested in arguing just for the sake of arguing.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Well, your perspective on principles rather than inflexible rules, has inspired me. I feel that this conversation is helping me grow. Im surprised you dont find it productive. I think that in the context of theology, some interpretations are more robust than others; not all interpretations are correct. Id prefer to explore which interpretations are the most robust.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I am glad some of my responses have been of interest to you. Sometimes, I have a challenger who doesn’t want to dialog but just wants to ‘defeat’ me in argument, sometimes arguing the same point over and over without regard to my responses. I don’t mind at all being challenged, and I have no interest in ‘winning’ an argument or trying to persuade anyone to accept my views, but I am not interested in beating dead horses.

            It seemed that our discussions were falling into that pattern. But I appreciate your remark that: “in the context of theology, some interpretations are more robust than others; not all interpretations are correct. Id prefer to explore which interpretations are the most robust.” I am happy with that. It felt that we were stalling out on rather inconsequential issues like whether I agreed that a third party was mistaken on something.

            So we can continue if the discussion if it continues to be useful.

            Liked by 1 person

          • stasisonline says:

            Ohhh. I’m not so sure now. I was responding to posts from Susan, that you had posted links to. I don’t see how that’s rather inconsequential. They seemed to be a feature of this page. This discussion isn’t making sense to me if you regard elements as prominent as that, as inconsequential.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, then can you please restate your objection to what Susan wrote and we can take a fresh look at it.

            Like

          • stasisonline says:

            Sure. I wrote 5 responses the first 5 of her blog posts that you listed. I believe the current thread arose from the response where I wrote the following –

            “Tim, the 5th post from Susan Cottrell seems to have some fundamental flaws in it, in regards to understanding what Jesus is all about.

            She writes that you are as God made you. And she seems to say that God is only angry or disappointed with oppressive leaders. This implies that unless you are an oppressive leader, God is indifferent, or not in any way, non-approving of you, irrespective of what you do.

            This is totally contradictory to my understanding of the New Testament message. First we had John the Baptist crying “repent, repent”. Susan though, seems to say that’s not necessary. Jesus then came, and said “leave behind your sin and follow me”. But again, Susan seems to imply that’s not necessary. She seems to say you can just be yourself, and follow yourself. She just seems to have so little grasp of Scripture.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Stasis, I just re-read Susan’s article in question, and I have no difficulties with it, though I never say that God created us as we are. I don’t think God creates us individually; we are born naturally.

            Your two concerns seem to be about ‘angry god’ and repentance. I agree with Susan on both these points. God is not angry with us and wishes to relieve our fear, brokenness, and alienation with peace, healing, and reconciliation–with ourselves, others, and God. This does not imply that God is indifferent to what we do; I think God’s interest is in our growing beyond our harmful behaviors against ourselves and others.

            Your next concern seems to be about repentance. I think I already shared that we seem to differ on our understanding of what repentance is. Repentance means to change one’s mind and direction for another–in this case to accept the good news of the kingdom of God and turn away from whatever conflicting worldview we held previously. This is all there is to it, but it is often a significant change.

            My favorite biblical passage is in Matthew 11: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

            We begin by deciding to come to Jesus and learn from him, and the more we learn of Jesus the more we change for the better. But I think your point is that we should change from being LGBT. The disagreement here is not that we should or should not change from ‘sin’ but whether being LGBT is ‘sin’, and I agree with Susan that it is not.

            Like

  15. stasisonline says:

    Tim Im a little confused by your reply. On the one hand you write that you have no difficulty with the article, but on the other hand in the next breath, you seemed to identify a problem you had with it. And then you seemed to me to disagree with her further, when you note that “This does not imply that God is indifferent to what we do”. She wrote “God is not disappointed in you. Not a single little tiny bit!” Surely such an attitude would be one of indifference to what we do? And it’s not reflective of Scripture. EG Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please him” What does that imply? That he is displeased by a lack of faith.

    Proverbs 6 goes deeper, saying;
    “There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
    haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
    a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil,
    a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.”
    Again, God has an emotional response to sin. I think you see that to some extent, but she doesnt.

    She says “God is NOT mad at you”. But how does she know this? Has she forgotten that God has destroyed towns? That Jesus chased men out of a temple with a whip? She claims that “The Bible itself shows us that Jesus gets angry at exactly one group of people… who it is? Religious leaders who use God as a weapon to oppress powerless people! That’s it.” But Scripture tells us that Sodom was NOT destroyed simply due to religious leaders using God as a weapon to oppress powerless people. Scripture tells us it was destroyed because the people were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” Such a description would apply to many Americans and people elsewhere today. Yet Susan claims to know that Jesus is not angry with us?

    I dont claim that we should change from being gay. At least not according to contemporary definitions of gay (IE that gay means attracted to the same sex). I think for some people, it’s not possible to change from being attracted to the same sex. But this it getting a little of track from the topic of the 5th post from Susan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Stasis, I really tried to be as clear as possible that I support Susan’s post–including her statements that God is not disappointed in us. Now this is not the same as saying that God is indifferent to what we do; God wishes us to live according to love to avoid the consequences of harming ourselves and others with negative behaviors.

      People of the OT wrote stories of what they imagined God did (and why), but I do NOT believe God destroyed Sodom–or any other place or people. God is not a God of wrath and retribution; God is love and healing. I think the writer of Proverbs 6 also leans in this direction; what are all the things listed that God ‘hates’? They are harmful behaviors toward other people.

      I am glad to hear you say that you: “dont claim that we should change from being gay.” Is this a change for you?

      Like

      • stasisonline says:

        Well it is true that I was once of the impression that God would enable anyone who was seriously committed, to stop being same-sex attracted. Around 5 years ago, I realized that this is just not a reality for many.

        I guess Ive come to understand that you agree with Susan, despite what is written in the Bible. And Ive come to understand that you dont believe everything that’s written in the Bible. Given that situation though, I dont see how you can be confident that your understanding of God is accurate.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Kirk Nyman says:

    1 Corinthians 6:9 is pretty straight forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Kirk, it seems pretty straight forward in English doesn’t it. However, the Greek word, Arsenokoitai, is very ambiguous and is translated in Bibles quite differently. Arsenokoitai might even have been coined by Paul himself, for there is no known precedent for the word.

      I think this is a very weak argument, but whatever the word means why do we focus on that for God’s special condemnation and ignore the ‘Greedy’ and ‘Slanderers’ in the same passage? The church is filled with the ‘Greedy’ and ‘Slanderers’.

      Like

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